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Q&A with Former Bristol Rovers & Fulham striker Barry Hayles

Ashley Calver recently got the chance to have a Q&A with Former Bristol Rovers, Fulham, Millwall and Jamaican international Barry Hayles about his playing career and what he is up to now.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Barry for answering our questions and wish him the greatest success in the future. 

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Your first club was Stevenage how did you first get signed with them?
I was playing for a Middlesex team and still paying subs at the time, we were playing Hertfordshire County, the Stevenage manager was the county manager as well, after the game he pulled me aside and asked if I wanted to get paid to play.

You won the league there but you couldn’t go up is that right?
That’s right the ground was not up to football league standard at the time, we were all geared up for promotion but the ground wasn’t ready.

Obviously there wasn’t a lot of money were you then thinking I’ve got to move on for myself now?
Yeah that season I scored and got player of the season. There were a few offers but nothing went through, Ian Holloway cornered me when the deals didn’t go through, saying if you’re still there next year we will make a deal. I stayed there for a year and true to his word the clubs did a deal and I moved to Bristol.

You mention Ian Holloway how was he as a manager, he seems like a character from what we have seen of him?
Yeah he’s a hell of a character he promised me he would get a team together that would get me scoring goals in the league. There were a few more offers from higher teams but I thought this man was true to his word he has come back a year later and we have done a deal and it turned out to be one of the most important decisions in my career having gone to Bristol Rovers. We were tipped to go down and we ended up making a promotion push and scoring the most goals in the league at the time.

That got you noticed by Fulham a big money move, was it Keegan who signed you?
Yeah it was Keegan that summer Fulham came in. Bristol City tabled a similar bid right at the end of the season and I said no, I couldn’t really move from Rovers to City. Ian Holloway said for you personally it would be a good move. But I stayed and it worked out as 3 months later Fulham came in with a similar bid and being from London I said yeah.

You say big money did you ever feel the pressure of that price tag?
Yeah defiantly only a year before I had been brought for £250,000, that jump within a season and a couple of months it was a major step in my career and when I went to Fulham I didn’t settle as well as I had hoped partly due to the pressure, I think the pressure did get to me.

You had success there probably the best of your career with promotions and up to the Premiership, how was the spirit among the lads at that time?
It was a brilliant spirit, we had a lot of experienced players as well and I think that helped the squad as a whole, and having the managers like we did and keeping us together and that’s what spurred us on to win championships.

Did that change at all when you had big money signings coming in like Van Der Saar when you got promoted, did the atmosphere stay the same or change at all?
It was the same, I think the managers knew we were all a squad and the boy reacted to that really and that’s why we done so well in staying in the Premiership and making a name there.

Keegan resigned then Jean Tigana took over what was the difference in there two styles?
Tigana had a good coaching system around him, regarding the fitness side plus the coaching side, so he managed the players more and he had his coaches to get our fitness levels. We all knew our jobs and he kept us motivated he always knew how to push us on, he wouldn’t let us rest on our laurels.

Coming away from Fulham you had a short spell at Sheffield United but then moved on to Millwall,  did you enjoy your time there?
Yeah I thoroughly enjoyed my time there to be honest we had a good run in the cup. I joined them initially to play in Europe because they had just got to the FA Cup Final. After my second game I cracked three ribs so I was out for the initial run in for the European draw. I did enjoy my time there, I still had another year there when I eventually moved on but it felt like the right time with all the changes that were going on. We had a manager come in preseason Steve Claridge and he lasted a month and he was on and then a bit of chop and changing.

During your time there you played and scored against West Ham in the local derby, how did that go as far as derby’s through out your career?
It was fantastic and the build up was fantastic, my brother was a West Ham fan so I’ve always got the hump against West Ham. It was extra special he was there and when I scored he was saying how can you score against them. But yeah it was extra pleasing because I know what it meant to the club, for me to score in the derby it was brilliant on a personal note.

Ian Holloway brought you again then at Plymouth, was he the main reason for going there?
He was the only reason yeah, he called me at Millwall training ground which was less than a 5 minute drive to where I lived. So I moved from London to Plymouth it was one hell of a trek, but Holloway convinced me. At Plymouth yet again we were underdogs and we were flying high in the Championship, we were top 6 in the Championship and reached the quarter finals of the FA Cup getting beat by Watford. For a club of that size and where it is on the map it was a fantastic achievement.

Coming away from the club scene to international, I know you played for England C when you were in none league, did you enjoy that?
Yeah I thoroughly enjoyed it, I think I played regular for them but we did have a very good squad we did have leaders in the team. We had a solid team a lot of quality players.

Eventually you played internationally for Jamaica how did that come about did they contact you?
Yeah to be honest a few years before I contacted them. I think I was in the Championship but then they called me. I enjoyed my time there, the coaching side of things wasn’t great I am not going to lie the manager we had then wasn’t the best. My debut was against local rivals for a World Cup qualifier and we won 1-0 and it was pleasing to be apart of.

What about the future do you plan on coaching or anything else?
Yeah I’m doing my badges now I’m on my B now, hopefully that will stand me in good stead when I hang them up. I’m doing a little bit of coaching in the local league. I think coaching then yeah.

Just coaching or do you think management as well one day?
Yeah I can defiantly see myself as a manager, I have really enjoyed coaching so yeah management will defiantly be on the cards.

That’s it Barry thank you very much for talking to us and good luck with the rest of the season.

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